My coworker Pat is, not unlike a number of my techie coworkers, the tech support for her extended family. Just about any time she goes back home to Apalachia, she is given something to work on and her reward is that whenever a computer is replaced she gets the defective one to repair and use herself. It’s low pay for the hours of support she provides, but family is family.

One such defective computer used to be the computers of her nephew and niece, both under the care of their grandparents, here parents. Once she resurrected the computer she found a bunch of old chatlogs that she couldn’t help but wade through out of morbid curiosity. Unsurprisingly, since both Cali and Carll are in high school, most of the conversations are pretty asinine. Carll takes mostly after his father who was something of a nimrod, so most of his chatlogs are both dull and stupid. Cali, on the other hand, got her mother’s intelligence (but, thankfully, not her propensity for poor lifestyle choices). But alas, she is seventeen and all which that entails.

Cali is dating some guy named Mark and so unsurprisingly they’re trading IM’s often. Reading through the logs (which Pat knows she shouldn’t do but she is a curious cat without much of a life of her own) gives Pat a headache. Cali and Mark are always arguing over something stupid. She’ll get mad at him for not responding to her IM even though the timestamp reads only thirty seconds before. Cali is angry at Mark most of the time and Mark, who seems like a nice enough guy but is probably not the sharpest tool in the shed) is pretty clueless why. Then he’s mad at her, she’ll talk circles around him and explain why he’s wrong, and he won’t be able to keep up with her logic and will just get madder.

Cali also trades messages with a friend of Mark’s Brad. The remarkable thing about those messages is that they’re never bickering. She’s never mad and he’s never defensive. He doesn’t get mad and he actually articulates why Mark is upset better than Mark does and he seems to understand why she’s mad at him when she is. Brad is dating some girl named Marta, with whom he is always fighting.

“I just don’t understand why Cali and Brad don’t just get together,” Pat said.

“Because if they did, Brad and Cali would have to start bickering and huffing and puffing and sobbing the way that Brad and Marta and Cali and Mark do in their relationships.”

“I’ll never understand young people.”

Category: Server Room

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2 Responses to IM Dramatica

  1. Peter says:

    When you had that thread last month about Pat’s troubled sister Marie, I was under the impression that Marie was maybe in her early 20’s or something. With two high-school aged children, however, she’s probably in her mid-30’s or even older. That makes her bad lifestyle choices even harder to understand.

  2. trumwill says:

    In some ways it makes her choices easier to understand. Poor lifestyle choices are more firmly a habit. Harder to change at her current age than when she was younger.

    When I wrote that post I didn’t know that she was quite as old as she was. I forget that Pat is a lot older than she looks and thus her kid sister would be much older than me.

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